Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s retail business Sports Direct is branching into the fitness sector through the acquisition of 13 gyms.
The sportswear firm has bought out the gyms from Yorkshire-headquartered LA Fitness, a move which follows on from speculative talks with the leisure firm in which it was reported to be acquiring leases on some 30 branches.
Ashley’s firm is also planning to open three in-store gyms later this year.
The retailer has also revealed it plans to open three in-store gyms later this year, in Liverpool, St Helens and Keighley.
The 13 sites – including four in the Midlands, three in the South East, two in London, two in the North West, one in the South West and one in Scotland – are set to rebranded as Sports Direct Fitness.com and will be opened as standalone gyms.
The announcement comes a week after The Journal revealed plans by rival firm JD Sports to transform their Newcastle store into a retail and fitness complex, with a two-floor gym branded as JD Sport Gyms.